Walkouts and fury: A look at Ahmadinejad's U.N. speeches
Delegations of several nations left during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's U.N. speech Thursday.
September 22nd, 2011
10:27 PM ET

Walkouts and fury: A look at Ahmadinejad's U.N. speeches

Whether he is predicting the demise of the U.S. "empire," questioning U.S. accounts of the 9/11 attacks or accusing Europe of using the Holocaust as an excuse for supporting Israel, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad knows how to push the West's buttons at the U.N. General Assembly.

For the third straight year, U.S. diplomats on Thursday joined envoys from several other nations in walking out during the Iranian president's address at the annual United Nations gathering in New York. That doesn't even count instances before that, when American diplomats conspicuously skipped his speech altogether.

This year, Ahmadinejad said European countries "still use the Holocaust after six decades as the excuse to pay (a) fine or ransom to the Zionists," and that the United States killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden instead of investigating "hidden elements involved in September 11."

Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, wasn't impressed.

"We find what Ahmadinejad does and says when he comes to the United Nations absolutely odious, hateful, anti-Semitic, unacceptable, which is why the United States for three consecutive years - including today - have led a walkout of his speech," Rice told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Thursday. "Inevitably he says something outrageous, dishonest and offensive, and that leads to a walkout."

Here is a look back at Ahmadinejad's other U.N. speeches, and reactions to them:

2010

Representatives from the United States, Britain, Spain and other nations walked out while Ahmadinejad asserted that the U.S. government either participated in the 9/11 attacks or let them happen as an excuse to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said most Americans and "most nations around the world" believe that "some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack," adding that these people believe the attacks were aimed at reversing "the declining American economy and its scripts on the Middle East in order to save the Zionist regime."

He also said capitalism and the current world order had reached their demise after 100 years of domination, saying that they were "unable to provide appropriate solutions to the problems that society faces."

2009

In September 2009, Ahmadinejad was critical of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he said "thousands of innocent people have been killed, injured or displaced, infrastructures have been destroyed and regional security has been seriously jeopardized."

He ripped capitalism, saying it brought about the conditions leading to the world's economic crisis. He also called for a "return to monotheism and justice," calling it "the greatest hope and opportunity in all ages and generations."

He blasted Israel, accusing it of "crimes ... against defenseless women and children and destruction of their homes, farms, hospitals and schools."

The next day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the Iranian leader at the General Assembly. The delegations that stayed for Ahmadinejad's address gave "legitimacy to a man who denies the murder of 6 million Jews," Netanyahu said, referring to the Holocaust.

Ahmadinejad at the General Assembly in 2008

2008

Ahmadinejad told the General Assembly in 2008 that the "American empire" was nearing its end, and that Israel "is on a definite slope to collapse."

While he stopped short of calling for Israel to be politically wiped off the map as he had previously, he called for "a free referendum in Palestine for determining and establishing the type of state in the entire Palestinian lands."

The U.N. Security Council, he said, "cannot do anything, and sometimes under pressure from a few bullying powers, even paves the way for supporting these Zionist murders."

He blamed a few world powers for the world's problems, and defended his country's nuclear activities as peaceful. The U.S. and other Western nations had long suspected that Iran had been pursuing nuclear weapons, but Iran said it seeks only a civilian nuclear energy program.

He accused the United States of oppressing Iraqis with six years of occupation, saying Americans were "still seeking to solidify their position in the political geography of the region and to dominate oil resources."

The only person at the United States' table was a note-taker; no U.S. diplomat was present.

U.S. seats were empty during the 2007 speech.

2007

In a 2007 speech that blasted "selfish and incompetent" governments that have "obedience to Satan," Ahmadinejad said the U.N. Security Council "ranks first" among ineffective international bodies because it is influenced by "monopolistic powers."

Ahmadinejad invited "all independent, justice-seeking and peace-loving nations" to join Iran in a "coalition for peace." He also criticized unnamed "powers" that he said were responsible for insecurity, division and moral decline across the world.

"Is it not high time for these powers to return from the path of arrogance and obedience to Satan to the path of faith in God?" he said.

He criticized the United States without naming it, offering blunt assessments of the Iraq war and Washington's war on terrorism.

"Setting up secret prisons, abducting (people), trials and secret punishments without any regard to due process, extensive tappings of telephone conversations, intercepting private mail and frequent summons to police and security centers have become commonplace and prevalent."

The American delegation's chairs were unoccupied, except for one woman taking notes.

Earlier, he had asked to lay a wreath at the site of the destroyed World Trade Center towers, but New York City officials denied the request, citing safety concerns at what was then a construction site.

Ahmadinejad speaks in 2006.

2006

Ahmadinejad said in 2006 that the United States' permanent inclusion on the U.N. Security Council undermines its effectiveness and credibility.

He also criticized "unwarranted support" for Israel during conflicts in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon.

On Iraq, Ahmadinejad said the United States, whom he called "the occupiers," is "incapable of establishing security," and scores were dying daily as a result.

"Where can the people of Iraq seek refuge, and from whom can the people of Iraq seek justice?" he asked. How can the Security Council act "when the occupiers themselves are permanent members of the council?"

The Iranian president speaks to the General Assembly in September 2005.

2005

Ahmadinejad in 2005 told the General Assembly that Iran had a right to operate a nuclear energy program. He said it was unfair that some nations were allowed to make nuclear fuel while others are condemned for it.

"Today, the most serious challenges is that the culprits are assuming the role of prosecutor," he said, accusing the United States of "bullying the others while through huge media resources portraying themselves as defenders of freedom."

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soundoff (670 Responses)
  1. Benadryllsy

    All men lie about inches. Just ask their wives! hardy har har. Real knee-slapper eh fellas?

    September 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • DanW

      Why did you post this?

      September 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. SofGangsta

    Someday we and Iran are going to have a serious disagreement....

    September 22, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Laurie

    So why is he even allowed to speak at the UN General Assembly and why is he even allowed on US soil? Know thy Enemy!

    September 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve Gastin

      U.S. wants United Nations to be in the USA. Iran or any other country would be happy to provide a building and services but U.S. wants center of power right here.

      United Nations can't discriminate head of the countries good, bad or worse to come and address the body.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      The UN Complex isnt US Soil, it is an international zone, like the oceans

      September 22, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      One of the obligations as the Host country for the UN General Assembly is that we have to make the UN accessible to member states' officials. Other host countries–e.g., Switzerland (WHO, ILO, UNHCR, and many others), Italy (FAO), Austria (IAEA)–have the same obligation. Sometimes we have to allow the distasteful to guarantee an avenue for diplomacy and international cooperation.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Benadryllsy

    Don't laugh Hugo. You're next.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. martin2176

    everyone in that room is talking B.S. some are talking more BS than others

    September 22, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • augustghost

      Got that right

      September 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • meh

      Yup, a room full of liers. This one just happens to be the unpopular one.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. alex

    best stand-up comedian ever

    September 22, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    LOL – typical 'Western' response – can't face the 'music' so they'll run away like a bunch of spoiled kids – good grief – these are the so-called 'representatives of the people – what a bunch of 'sissies' LMAO

    September 22, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • DanW

      Perhaps they have better things to do with their time. Don't you?

      September 22, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marine5484

      You do realize that 1. The guy is bat s*** crazy and 2. If there is a person from one country saying something to the UN council that is how they protest....by walking out not screaming there heads off at one another.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jared Roussel

    Don't get me wrong, this man is among the most brutally ignorant there is, but I wouldn't be walking out because of the stuff he said at the UN podium. That was actually true...

    September 22, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DanW

    Persia use to be a great nation. Now it is subject to the clown Ahmadinejad and the radical Islamist "leaders". What a sad state of decline.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill from OHIO

    It's a shame his speeches at the UN are never broadcasted to the Iranian people.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Truth

    Poor brainwashed and misguided person.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. the gloss

    Hate to say it but some of what he says a few years down the line seems smarter and smarter.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Fargo

    "Outrageous, dishonest and offensive" indeed, but he is also at least partially correct. Sure his words are only chosen to enhance Iranian power and public opinion, but it's the outsider insight that Westerners just can't stand.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Alternate Destinations inc.

    We were hired by the Iraqi people back in 2002 to promote Iran as a better place to invade and occupy. We tried everything...from pointing out how pretty Iranian women are to making it look like Iran had course sand that wouldn't bog-down an Hum-Vee. Nothing seemed to work, so we gave up. Now looky..

    September 22, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hoofleau

      You didn't mess with Suddam back in his day, now look what a big mess that was made. The same goes for Gadhafi. You ain't seen nothing yet. You kill the catalyst and you have an uncontrollable, ever growing, problem. Ahmadinejad made a few points that were true, but I truly believe he is a political thug and extortionist hell bent on world war III. He is an evil man.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • meh

      @Hoofleau: We are all evil men and women. That is any country that has ever declared war on another, since creating this little organization called the United Nations. Diplomacy... anyone....anyone?

      September 23, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. JDOGGG

    Not saying much but I agree Steve. No need to run out when you dont hear something you dont like. Freedom of speech is an american right.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sailor Jerry

      Yeah he has a right to talk. We don't have to listen tho.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
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